Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 12/04/17

There’s nothing like being there.

A blizzard, a hurricane, a lightning storm—these are hard to describe adequately, no matter how gifted your speech, and impossible to personally experience in absentia, no matter how perceptive your hearing.

For example, we hear a lot about China. I found that I had no real comprehension of the Great Wall until I stood upon it. I also found that it’s almost frightening to smell, see, and taste the air that you breathe in Beijing (and that’s not the worst of the cities, environmentally).

There is a distinct fear among people of being stopped and having their papers requested (which we observed). The service in top establishments is excellent, but always reserved. No one wants to simply chat. People seem afraid to talk openly.

The high-end stores are more numerous than in Manhattan but overstaffed and under-occupied. I was astounded at designer shoe stores without any place to sit! It’s quite unusual (in my experience) for a masseuse in a five-star hotel to proposition you (unless I’m just especially dense).

There is an astounding juxtaposition on the streets, with a $180,000 Mercedes stopped alongside a man on a beat-up bicycle hauling a cart filled with brooms made of twigs.

I found Bora Bora to be more remarkable than anything I was told or that I read. The visual impact of the Pietà, the David, the Last Supper is virtually indescribable. The Amalfi Coast can bring tears to my eyes. Those are simply some of my choices and experiences. But they are choices.

What are you doing with the rest of your life to “try to be there”?

To travel is to take a journey into yourself. —Danny Kaye

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